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Eight Major Types of Nonverbal Communications

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1. Facial Expression
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are similar throughout the world.

2. Gestures
Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.

3. Paralinguistics
Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.

4. Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal on information. Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970’s, but popular media have focused on the over-interpretation of defensive postures, arm-crossing, and leg-crossing, especially after the publication of Julius Fast’s book Body Language. While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive that previously believed.

5. Proxemics
People often refer to their need for “personal space,” which is also an important type of nonverbal communication. The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics and level of familiarity. For example, the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.

6. Eye Gaze
The eyes play an important role in nonverbal communication and such things as looking, staring, and blinking can also be important nonverbal behaviors. When people encounter people or things that they like, the rate of blinking increases and pupils dilate. Looking at another person can indicate a range of emotions including hostility, interest, and attraction.

7. Haptics
Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood. Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrated how the deprivation of touch and contact impedes development. Baby monkeys raised by wire mothers experienced permanent deficits in behavior and social interaction. Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy, and other emotions.

8. Appearance
Our choice of color, clothing, hairstyles, and other factors affecting appearance are also considered a means of nonverbal communication. Research on color psychology has demonstrated that different colors can evoke different moods. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments, and interpretations. Just think of all the subtle judgements you quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. These first impressions are important, which is why experts suggest that job seekers dress appropriately for interviews with potential employers.

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Did You Know – 01/19/2015

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1. 24% Is the percentage by which purchases of empty calorie desserts, such as cakes, pastries, and doughnuts, dropped between 2005 and 2012 according to a US study

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2. According to the Journal Positive Psychology ’11’ is the average number of weeks it takes for someone to get over a break-up.

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3. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, When you lose weight 84% of the fat lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs. The remaining 16% becomes water and leaves the body through sweat, tears and urine

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4. Research shows that when a woman is most fertile her voice alters subtly and the change is enough to let a guy know its a great time for you to reproduce.
Its all down to hormonal changes that accompany a woman’s menstrual cycle. Research at James Madison University in the US involved study participants listening to recordings of women’s voices. It revealed an increase of 20% in electrical activity in participants skin and a 5 percent increase in heart rate, when a woman was at peak fertility. The changes took place within five seconds of hearing her voice, long before the listener was aware of it.

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5. Danish scientists have discovered that those with blue eyes have just one ancestor. Apparently a genetic mutation took place somewhere between 6000 and 10,000 years ago that led to the existence of every blue eyed person walking on the planet today.
“Originally we all had brown eyes” University of Copenhagen professor Hans Eiberg says. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch’ which literally turned off the ability to produce brown eyes”. The switch reduced melanin production in the iris, and DNA testing shows this happened at the same point for everyone with blue eyes, while people with brown or green eyes show a lot more variation in that part of their DNA

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